Have you ever heard this phrase from your mom or dad?
Life isn’t fair.
I know I did. When I was growing up I would sometimes complain about a perceived injustice or an unfair teacher at school. My family would tell me, “Life isn’t fair, Diane.”
I never liked to hear that phrase because I wanted life to be fair. I wanted things to work out the way I thought they should. I wanted my teachers to treat all of us equally. I wanted fairness.
The truth is that life is not fair all the time and as we grow from childhood to adulthood we understand that concept very clearly. The concept applies to weight loss as well.
There are times when things about losing weight just do not seem fair. It never seemed fair to me that men tend to lose weight more quickly than women. I didn’t like it that eating well for a whole week would result in a loss of 1/2 pound instead of the 5 pounds I thought should come off. It wasn’t fair that my friend could eat ice cream every day for dessert and if I took a whiff of the same ice cream I gained a pound. (Or at least that is what seemed to happen.)
It’s this last one that I wanted to talk about today. The seeming unfairness of those people who can eat a certain way and maintain their weight and those who cannot.
I cannot eat like my friend Kristina who has been naturally thin her whole life and really does eat a large quantity of food. If I ate all that, I’d gain weight. Honestly I would. I cannot have a candy dish on my living room coffee table like my husband’s coworker can because I would eat all the candy one piece by one piece throughout the course of a day or so. She leaves her candy dish alone. It doesn’t appeal to her and a piece every few days satisfies her.
You might think it is unfair that you cannot be as thin as your sister or as lean as your brother. You might think it is unfair that you have to order a salad at a restaurant while the person at the next table scarfs down a huge burger.
It’s not fair but dwelling on the unfairness of weight loss and weight maintenance doesn’t do you any good. Because what you are inevitably doing is comparing yourself to someone else.
Comparing yourself to someone else when it comes to weight and eating habits often backfires. When I dwelt on the unfairness of my own obesity and the fact that I couldn’t have certain foods that other people could have, I ended up sending myself negative messages. In a way I was sabotaging myself emotionally.
Instead of focusing on all the positive reasons to eat right, exercise, and be happy when I lost a pound, I often focused on all the foods I couldn’t have or the size 2 clothes I would never be able to wear. The process of comparing myself to other people and what they looked like or ate, was detrimental to me.
I ended up coming to peace with the fact that I couldn’t eat like my friend, was grateful for healthy food because it helped me reach my goal weight, and accepted all the other “unfairnesses” that I used to feel. It wasn’t always easy, but when I felt myself slip into “unfair talk” I gave myself a virtual slap and reminded myself that I needed to focus on what was fair for me, not fair for other people.
I’d encourage you to not compare yourself to other people. Life isn’t fair, but don’t use that as a way to stop doing what is right for you when it comes to weight loss. How do you do with the concept of fairness? Diane